Hit Me

Mysterious Book Report No. 102

 by John Dwaine McKenna

The summer reading season is getting underway and this weeks book selection was chosen because it’s ideal for reading in short intervals as time allows.  It consists of three novellas, all linked together around two central themes: the first being extraordinary and the second arcane.  It’s great crime fiction that transports the reader to another time and place in just a few pages . . . a time and place that the reader herself will never actually go . . . but a time and place she’ll feel familiar with after reading Hit Me, (Mulholland Books-Little Brown, $26.99, 337 pages, ISBN 978-0-316-12735-6) by Lawrence Block.  It reprises one of the most interesting, iconic characters in all of crime fiction literature, a legendary hit man known only as Keller.  He’s a product of the imagination of Lawrence Block, who is himself a living legend among members of the Mystery Writers of America, having received countless fiction awards—including multiple Edgars and being named a Grand Master by the MWA.

A quiet man named Nicholas Edwards lives in New Orleans with his wife and young daughter.  He makes a living buying and renovating houses, then ‘flipping,’ or selling them for a profit.  He has a good business and collects stamps for a hobby.  But then the recession hits and his business goes in the tank.  He’s doing okay, keeping the bills paid with an unknown money source, but he’s concerned about tapping into his “savings.”  There’s also his expensive stamp collecting hobby to think about.  Mr. Nicholas Edwards is in a quandary when he gets a phone call from an old business associate known only as ‘Dot.’  She offers him a job: assassinate the abbot of a monastery in midtown Manhattan, and Keller, one of the deadliest and most congenial hitmen in all of crime fiction, re-emerges to wreak havoc on his unsuspecting and not very innocent victims.  Of course that first job and payday leads to a second, and third one.  Plus, and what could be better from a dedicated collectors point-of-view, each ‘job’ coincides with a major stamp auction, which allows Keller to add certain rarities.  It’s an entertaining romp through the pages of this latest work from one of the best fiction writers in America.  Take a break from summer schlock television and read it.  You’ll have a great time and learn a bit about the fascinating business of philately, or stamp collecting.

You can learn about collecting coins, stamps, classic cars, baseball cards or you name it by going to your local library.  It’s where you can read in-depth about any subject you choose, and really learn something . . . not just gain a small amount of superficial knowledge as on the computer.  Go find out for yourself.  Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and meet one of those smart and foxy librarians . . .

Things are getting hotter than a junior prom without chaperones at our websites:

johndwainemckenna.com

and

rhyolitepress.com

The Colorado Chronicles are just about to go to the printer and Rhyolite is revising and re-issuing an iconic and much-loved story for young readers aged eight to eighty called

The Boy Who Slept With Bears, by George R. Douthit III.

It’s been out of print for several years and is eagerly awaited by legions of young folks, their parents and grandparents.  It tells the heartwarming story of a young Ute Indian boy and a legendary grizzly bear named ‘Old Mose’ in South Park, Colorado at a time when white settlers and gold miners were pouring into the area . . . displacing the Ute Indians who’d lived in the area for thousands of years.  It’s a tragic and true story of the plight of the indigenous tribes who peopled the west.  It’s also the first place winner of the 2005 CIPA award for fiction.

And Hey!  As if that’s not enough . . . Rhyolite is in discussions with a number of other authors about bringing their projects into print.  Stay tuned . . .

Thanks and Hi how are yas to all our new friends on Facebook and Twitter.  They get the Mysterious Book Report on Thursdays, same day as the paper comes out, but at 12:01am thanks to the magic of technology.

Stay tuned indeed.  There’s all kinds of stuff going on out here, “East of the mountains and west of the sun.”  Like Harry S. said to Bess “If you can’t stand in the kitchen, get out of the heat . . .’cause the book stops here.”  No, he didn’t say that.  See you next week with a brand new buck review.

                                                                        –JDM